December 3, 2013

Council moves forward on rail port study


KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville City Council approved documentation at its regular meeting Monday night to move forward with a railport study. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation's Office of Rail Transportation awarded the City of Knoxville $94,400 for the study of the feasibility of providing additional rail service and flexibility to the existing rail-served industrial park in northeast Knoxville. City Manager Harold Stewart has previously said that most business developers are seeking locations with rail access. 

Additional goals include providing possible layouts for improvements, possible users for any new facilities, investigating level of usage, determining estimated construction costs, funding options and a marketing strategy. 

The overall cost of the study will be $118,000. The City's portion will be $15,600, with Mid American Energy donating an additional $5,000 and Alliant Energy contributing $3,000. 

In a separate action, the council also approved a request for proposals for the study. The DOT is requiring the City to go through the RFP process for this project. A pre-submission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m., at City Hall. Proposals are due to the City Clerk by Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at 5 p.m. The $118,000 amount of funds available is identified in the RFP. 

When the study is complete, the City of Knoxville will own it. Property owners in the area the study will focus on have been notified of the study, but no discussions have taken place regarding any purchases, according to Stewart.